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What Can Go Wrong with Cummins Diesel Engines?

What Can Go Wrong with Cummins Diesel Engines?

There are plenty of machines that use the Cummins diesel engines, and as all engines out there, Cummins engines aren’t perfect. They occasionally suffer breakages. Some of these malfunctions are more common than others, and below there is a list of common faults with Cummins engines that you should be on a lookout for.

If you need a Cummins diesel engine repair anywhere in San Diego County, find yourself a skilled mechanic. PCE has been the staple of diesel engine repair in the area for decades, and the skilled mechanics there continually perfect their skills in order to provide the very best service to the customers.

Lift pump

The lift pump is a part of the complex fuel injection setup which Cummings diesel engines use. The problem with this breakdown (except for the fact that your lift pump has broken), is that initially, there are no tell-tale signs. The rest of the system compensates for the weakening to the lift pump. However, this puts strain on the whole fuel injection system, and it may end up breaking down the entire fuel injection system.

Cracked engine block

This is fortunately not as common as the other issues from this list. However, it is a weakness which might affect your Cummins diesel engine. This problem affects mostly engines with the infamous 53 stamp on the engine block. The issue is present in the engines produced in the period 1999-2002, and seems to be contained to the 24 valve versions.

The chief cause of this is thin water walls. These parts were produced by a contractor from Brazil, and the thinness of the walls causes them to crack easily, and leak coolant all over the engine. If the problem is not caught early on, a replacement engine block is needed.

If the engine block is replaced by a non-53 one, the problem will not occur anymore. Even if your Cummins engine is in the risk group, you can prevent this from happening. Avoid towing and running the engine cold.


The most common cause of misfiring in any diesel engine is a problem with the fuel injectors. However, this is not the only possible cause of misfire. The problem may be electrical as well. If the injector wiring is not strong enough, that is if it is under 20 Amps, the injectors simply do not have enough power to work properly.

If the problem is not electrical, mechanical problems can also cause misfiring. If the nozzle of the injector is stuck in the open position, or if it is leaking, this causes even more problems than the electrical issue. There is an easy way to determine whether this is the issue. Namely, leaking or broken injector will leak fuel into the engine oil.

Steel dowel pins

These pins can get loose from the vibrations of a diesel engine, but also from the temperature variations. Depending on where they end up after they fall out, they can cause a lot of damage, including destroying the engine completely. It can also damage the gearbox and cause oil to spill. In any case, there is an easy fix, so even though it is common, this problem is easily avoidable.

These are some of the more common issues known to affect Cummins diesel engines. However, they are not immune to other problems either. If you own a Cummins diesel, the best thing you can do is follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions, as well as have some preventive maintenance done every once in a while. Finding the right partner for this is important. With decades of experience in the field, PCE is the best choice for Cummins diesel engine repair and maintenance. Contact PCE today to learn more.
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